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Archive for June, 2009

Early Retirement Rumors are Back

June 29th, 2009 at 05:54 pm

I mentioned awhile back that an early retirement package may be offered at the local government where I am employed. I am in the group that started "too young" (something to be thankful for) but was hired so long ago (28 yrs) that the pension contribution is only 2%. The was a tentative deal offered to folks with different criteria. It seems my group has been mentioned. However, it does appear that the offer for my group is not as generous as was previously rumored. The artificial 55 & 30 (non-penalized) retirement is probably not an offer. The offer is 5 years added to one's service credit. But DB (my bro) a union mucky-muck still thinks that the 5 years can be used as I see fit. So stay tuned..... It is a better deal to add the 5 years to my age rather than to service time. There is a larger penalty with the age. I will be *gasp* the Big 5-0 next month, so getting to 55 would be better than staying 50 with the extra time. With all the votes and delays, it seems that any realistic departure would be at the end of this year or early in 2010. That will increase service time by a few months. Vacation and sick payouts will be split into the 2 years to lessen tax burdens (yay). So, I am in the process of determining what I actual live on now versus what a monthly retirement check would be (minus those charges I do not have to do anymore). I'll keep you posted. My gut tells me to take the $$ and run!

I Survived the Party!

June 28th, 2009 at 07:03 pm

Had a birthday party for DD this weekend and I lived to tell the tale! Smile Actually, it was a nice party. Four girls came and lots of swimming - Sat pm, Sat eve, and Sun am. Pool was hovering at about 87 degrees (yippee for solar heating). We had Costco pizza and taco bar (I prepared all the fixing but cheated by using preformed shells). Lots of fruit and veggie try. I was so proud of myself for no junk foods except for the birthday cake. I made DD an ice cream cake. One layer white cake, one chocolate with Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Brownie ice cream in the middle. Frosting was cool whip. Yum! And very easy and cheap to make as well. After dark the girls made bracelets and necklaces with fancy beads while watching "Bewitched" on DVD. My DD loves the show (it brings back childhood memories). One girl brought "scary" movies to watch but 3 were rated "R" and one was "PG-13." So no go on that one at our home. In the morning more swimming. Breakfast was pancakes, left over pizza, and homemade smoothies. The guests were impressed that I actually save left over fruit and freeze it for smoothies! Hopefully they tell their mommies. The pancakes were also extras frozen for breakfast at a later time (yes I was a bit lazy). I took a long nap this pm and then off to Target for DD to spend some of her birthday monies. But we rode our bikes for a bit of exercise. DD is happy with her day and Mom and Dad are content that it was not too wild. Sophie the dog was even on her best behavior! She did not bark at anyone and did not jump in the pool after the girls.

Hope the rest of you have also enjoyed your weekend!

Back from Texas!

June 12th, 2009 at 05:31 pm

Got back from Texas the other day. Looooooong road trip but saw lots of interesting things. We went to a family reunion in south central Texas (south of Austin). We all got to see the family farm and other family country land. DD was excited to see so many cows (she took about 150 photos of them!) -- the area is full of small beef cattle ranches. Cows seems to love to look at the camera! Smile In southern CA I only see large dairy operations. My FIL is almost 89 and he was so happy to go back to where he grew up. He saw his brother, nieces/nephew, and lots of cousins (his age). That made it worth the trip. We also were quite lucky with the weather - the weather was in the high 80s but was fairly dry for June. Good for us!





It almost killed me not to have any time to exercise (except for some hiking). There was always someone to take us out to eat! We also toured a Blue Bell creamery (yum). I tried to be fairly careful with portions and with types of food (more veggies than usual). At least I did not gain any weight. But, I did pay for it. I went running yesterday and was almost as slow as a slug.

It was so nice to be in the country - the pace of life is much slower in this part of Texas and I think that is a good thing. This area is a farming area where everyone knows you. We had lunch at a local cafe where FIL saw someone he went to school with as a child! Downfalls --- bigger bugs in Texas! We saw lots of them. Poor DD looks like she has the measles on her legs from all the mosquito bites!

Budgetwise, the largest cost was for gas for our vehicle. DD did not ask for any souvenirs. Her splurge was a trip to the local bead ship. We stayed at Uncle's log cabin and they even stocked it with groceries! Texans are very hospitable. It was nice to sitting in the rocking chairs on the porch reading magazines and even going on an "armadillo hunt." We did not find any except for a dead one on the side of the road. Saw a snapping turtle and scorpions and a baby buzzard that fell out of its nest in the woods.

I would like to travel there again at a "better" time of year. But I think we'll fly. Right now we are hoping that Uncle will come here to visit in August (to escape the heat and humidity).

Well, back to reality -- enjoy the picture of the cows on Grandpa's farm!